Kelly Clarkson Unwraps Lush 'Merry Christmas Baby' Early

Kelly Clarkson
Adam Christopher/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson posted a first listen to the opening track from her upcoming When Christmas Comes Around album on Sunday night (Oct. 3), the lush "Merry Christmas Baby." The 19-second sneak peek of the classic holiday ballad opens with Clarkson crooning the cutting lines, "A dose of your kind of lovin'/ I'll let my absence show you what I got you for Christmas/ Is losing me/ Merry Christmas baby," over a soulful, horn-spiked backing track.

"So I thought I'd give y'all a sneak peek of songs off this record leading up to its release. Here's the first one! This one's called 'Merry Christmas Baby' and it kicks off the album," she tweeted about the holiday original, adding a reminder that the album comes out on Oct. 15.

Clarkson's ninth studio collection was first previewed with the equally biting lead single, "Christmas Isn't Canceled (Just You)," one of the mix of originals and covers on the 15-track collection, the follow-up to her 2013 Christmas album Wrapped in Red.

In addition to such classics as "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" and "Santa Baby," the album will contain originals featuring special guests including Chris Stapleton ("Glow"), Ariana Grande ("Santa, Can't You Hear Me") and Brett Eldredge ("Under the Mistletoe").

Announcing the album last month, Clarkson said in a statement: "My purpose for choosing this lyric for being the title of this project was to bring forth a sense of reality to the fact that we are probably all in very different places emotionally ‘when Christmas comes around.’ Some of us consumed with a new love, some of us reminded of loss, some filled with optimism for the coming new year, others elated for some much deserved time away from the chaos our work lives can sometimes bring us.

"Wherever you are, and whatever you may be experiencing, I wanted everyone to be able to connect to a message on this album. Each year you may even have a new favorite depending on where you are in your life, but while change can be unpredictable there is no better time of year, in my opinion, to breathe hope into one’s life and let possibility wander."

Listen to "Merry Christmas Baby" below.